Friday, May 17, 2019

Chaperoning at Greenfield Village

A while back our granddaughter, Isabella, called and said her 8th grade class was going to Greenfield Village, and would Papa and I like to be a chaperone?  I asked for the day off at work, and today was her field trip.  

For blog followers who don't live in Michigan, Henry Ford created and opened historical Greenfield Village in October 1929 with the philosophy of "learning by doing."  It was a school for children before it opened to the public.  Henry Ford gave American children [and later adults] a chance to experience history firsthand when he relocated and preserved an unrivaled collection of 84 authentic historic buildings spread out over 80 acres forming an American Village of yesteryear.

We arrived a bit early and waited by the front entrance to the village for the Chelsea school buses to arrive.

Not far away was a statue of Henry Ford given by his great-grandson, Edsel Ford II and wife, Cynthia.

Around 9:15 a.m. the Chelsea buses pulled in.

We were chaperones for Izzy [R] and her girlfriends Natalie [L] and Kaylee [center].

Students entering the Village below.  Several other schools were there today too, so it was bustling with activity.  We had about 3 1/2 hours to tour the village before the students had to get back on the buses for home.  They're studying the Civil War right now so there were two places they were required to see:  Susquehanna Plantation and Hermitage Slave Quarters.  Other than that they were free to choose what they wanted to see.

As you can see it was an overcast day, but it didn't rain.  Temps were in the low 60's so it was actually very pleasant.  The last time I visited the Village was in August 2012 and it was hot and humid so I enjoyed today much better.

The girls wanted to begin the tour in the working farm area.

Firestone farmhouse that was renovated in 1882.  Harvey S. Firestone [tire maker] lived in it with his parents and siblings.  His granddaughter, Martha Parke Firestone would one day marry Henry Ford's youngest grandson, William Clay Ford.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of a baby lamb inside the barn.

The girls went inside the Cider Mill which is no longer operational.

The glass shop was very interesting.

Thomas Edison's Menlo Park Complex

Sarah Jordan Boarding House where workers from Menlo Park stayed.

Hermitage Slave Quarters [a required site]

[click on to enlarge]

Right next door was the Mattox home - an African-American family from Georgia during the Depression.

Then we went to the last required site - the Susquehanna Plantation.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of the Mother Robin who had built her nest on one of the front porch rafters.  She was being very valiant of her little one and was probably perturbed by all the intruders!

A docent telling the girls about cooking methods at the plantation.

We posed for a picture in front of the 1600's Cotswold Cottage that Henry Ford had dismantled piece by piece in Gloucestershire, England and shipped to Dearborn where it was reassembled.  On May 23rd it will open to serve Afternoon Tea on the patio, so we were a few days too early.

I took a picture of what I think is a tea caddy [center] inside a cabinet in the cottage.

The girls posed in front of William Holmes McGuffy School.  Henry and Clara Ford had a huge collection of original McGuffy Readers.  There was actually a class in session so we couldn't peek inside the school.

~ William Holmes McGuffey Birthplace ~

~ George Washington Carver Cabin ~

The Scotch Settlement Schoolhouse where Henry Ford attended from age 8 to 11.  There was actually a class in session.  It reminded Izzy and me of the Anne of Green Gables schoolhouse in the movie.

Martha-Mary Chapel where weddings are frequently held.  It's named after Clara Ford's mother [Martha Bryant] and Henry Ford's mother [Mary Litogot Ford].

Then it was time to get a bite to eat at the 'Taste of History' restaurant.  I was fascinated by the four pictures made from corn cobs inside the restaurant.  Very creative.

The last house the girls went into before rejoining their classmates to depart for home, was the birthplace home of Henry Ford.  It was built in 1861 and Henry grew up in that house along with his five brothers and sisters.

It was such a fun day and we were so glad Izzy invited us to be a part of it.  I hope you've enjoyed the Greenfield Village tour vicariously.  We didn't have time to see everything, but we saw a lot.


  1. What a wonderful experience. We have visited the Henry Ford Museum, but not Greenfield Village. The first time we visited, we spent the whole day in the Museum. When we realize the expanse of the whole facility, we applied our one day membership to a season grandparent pass! We returned that December with all our young grandchildren for an outing and had planned to come back in the Spring to visit the Village. However, life got in the way with caring for my parents and we have not yet made it back (5 years later . . .) I have read about the tea at Cotswell Village and maybe this will be the year we are able to attend. How wonderful to spend the day with your granddaughter!

  2. One of my favorite places. Before we moved to FL we used to go the the 4th of July fireworks with the DSO every year and also the Holiday Nights in December where everything is lit my lanterns. Both fabulous.

  3. That looks like a great field trip for the students, and I'm so glad you got to go along.


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